Here is an experience I had back in 2005-06 that I keep reminding myself about, (on REPEAT):
I worked at a non-profit, running many monthly outreach film-based programs. I had a kids’ film thing at a local library. I used money from my budget to create thousands of paper(!) flyers for local elementary schools to distribute. I spent time convincing school officials to let me distribute them (each month–for some reason the permission didn’t stay in place), then getting the flyers to the schools. All this for just ONE of my several monthly events. I would get about 10 to 15 kids and their parents to attend. After a few months of what I considered out-sized effort for such ridiculous results, I stopped using the money and the time for the advertising efforts. After that, I think I got maybe 1, or 2 kids, to attend. Moral of the story: it takes A LOT of advertising/screaming-into-the-void to get even a little bit of attention.
I keep reminding myself of this frustrating episode from my life, over and over, lately. As I’ve pointed out many times here, I haven’t had time to write my own blogs, read others’ blogs, or participate, even a little bit, in the cancer community in which I was a minuscule, fringe part of in the years since I began this site. I don’t have the spoons, the emotional bandwidth. I think I popped in on Twitter a few weeks ago and found someone wondering if there is a hierarchy in cancer, and I just….navigated away. I’ve written about it extensively, others have written about it over and over. It’s not this person’s fault, they are likely new-ish to cancer, waking up to things I realized in my progression out from the first confusing years of treatment and moved on to dealing with aftermath. But I just get frustrated that we cannot move forward (see most any blog post I’ve written in recent years).
So I think back to my story and remind myself, with gritted teeth, that it takes mammoth effort to move forward even a millimeter. In fact, I repeated this story to someone involved in local politics, and I will tell this story in a speech I have to give in a few hours to local political activists.
Why do I tell this story here and now? Well, you might have noticed that we did not have a day set aside this Pinktober for #BreastCancerRealityCheck. It’s still going on, we still encourage everyone to use the hashtag. Primarily, we were unable to create a Thunderclap–the site was just not there. I personally was unable to get any of the comparable platforms to work (they kept kicking me out). Without that Thunderclap, and a concerted effort to get people to REALLY use the hashtag around the time the T-clap happens, well, I’m not seeing much use. Heck, I’m not even using it much. I’m having too much car and computer trouble and have been so distracted I don’t do more than the bare minimum of my volunteer activities.
Then I opened Twitter upon waking up on Saturday and saw No Bra Day trending. I know that the algorithm picks things it thinks a user wants to see–but I wasn’t even using my @curmudgeo account, I was using one of my political accounts. About an hour later it wasn’t popping up on any of my accounts, but my FB feed was full of outrage from my friends who hate the day. I toyed with re-posting my own screed against No Bra Day, but within seconds went into my “why bother we never move forward no matter how hard we scream” mode.
Earlier this week I stumbled across this picture and Banksy quote. I generally roll my eyes at inspirational quotes, but I liked this one. (The art is not Banksy’s, and the argument around even that, where I found the pic, just made me tired).
I’m not exactly resting right now–I cannot. I have too many obligations (not here in CancerLand) and too many personal troubles, I am unable to rest. But I remember that I must keep trying. I must be patient. A change in Cancer Culture will take longer than I can imagine. But that doesn’t mean I should just quit.
I cannot promise I’ll be involved as much as I like. As stated before, I’ve said nearly all I have to say about the horribleness that is cancer–I’ve said it repeatedly. But I encourage others to say their truth, their reality. Use #BreastCancerRealityCheck. There is so much bullshit out there–and we need to set the record straight. I’ll try if you try, OK?